According to a recent poll, Americans believe marijuana to be much less risky than alcohol, cigarettes, and opioids. They also believe marijuana to be less addictive than each of those narcotics and modern technology.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) and Morning Consult conducted a study last week that examined public perceptions of the risks and addictiveness of six different substances as well as technology.
38 percent of respondents felt marijuana is “very or somewhat unsafe.”
Cigarettes (84 percent), alcohol (64 percent), prescription opioids (66 percent), over-the-counter opioids (75 percent), and vapes (76 percent) were all considered to be significantly more dangerous by the public. Technology was the only thing individuals believed was safer than marijuana, with only 23% seeing it as extremely or somewhat risky.
In response to a different question, 64% acknowledged that cannabis can be addictive. That is a smaller percentage than any of the other categories, such as alcohol (84%) and technology (75%) as well as cigarettes (87%) and opioids (83%) that were prescribed to users and 74%) that were not.
In a press release, APA President Petros Levounis stated that “it is clear that we have gotten the message through that cigarettes are dangerous and addictive.” We can aid in the prevention of more Americans engaging in other potentially addictive activities, such as alcohol consumption and technology use.
“For instance, vaping is just as, if not more addictive than cigarette smoking,” he continued. “We can also make sure that people are aware of the safe and efficient therapies we already offer for behavioral addictions as well as substance use disorders. Addiction treatment is effective.
When asked about the reasons of addiction, 47% claimed that it was the result of “personal weakness,” yet 76% claimed that addiction is a medical illness and that substance use disorders may be cured. The condition is preventable, according to another 76% of respondents.
Additionally, 71 percent of Americans claim to be able to assist a loved one who is battling addiction. While 58 percent of respondents claimed to be aware of the opioid anti-overdose medicine naloxone, just 35% claimed to know where to find it in the event of an overdose.
According to APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, “more than 100,000 people died from opioids in 2022.” We can do more to make sure that more people in our communities are aware of and have access to naloxone, which saves lives, even if it is promising that most Americans consider substance use disorder as a curable medical problem.
The American Psychological Association announced that it will begin a public awareness campaign on addiction, focusing on vaping before shifting to opioids in the summer, alcohol in the winter, and technology in the next year. Plans to incorporate cannabis into that education campaign were not mentioned.
Between April 20 and 22, 2,201 persons participated in interviews for the poll, which had a +/-2 percentage point margin of error.
According to a survey conducted specifically in New York and published in March, 46% of respondents indicated cannabis use is a somewhat or very significant public health risk, compared to 77% who said alcohol use is.
The results are essentially in line with changing public attitudes about marijuana and alcohol in general, with fewer individuals believing that cannabis is a severely dangerous substance as more states move to legalize it for both medical and recreational uses. Public education has also helped people become more aware of the negative effects of alcohol.
A lot of people use marijuana as a substitute for alcohol and a long list of prescription drugs, according to previous surveys.
According to a different survey, about one in five people who participated in “Dry January” this year and abstained from alcohol stated they used cannabis as a substitute to get through the month.
According to a different survey conducted last year, more Americans now openly admit to smoking marijuana or consuming treats containing cannabis than claim to have smoked cigarettes in the previous week.
IMPORTANT: The information on this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional for personalised medical advice. The authors of this blog are not medical professionals and disclaim any liability for the use of the information provide.